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Chevy Bolt EV from FPL. Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica.

Clean Transport

Are Electric Cars Lowering Energy Bills In California?

People are often scared of change, and look for reasons to justify not wanting to change. This has certainly been the case with electric vehicles for the past decade. There are so many misperceptions and there are so many misleading attacks on electric vehicles. At the same time, across the public at large, there’s not enough awareness or appreciation for benefits we get from EVs. One element that is especially ignored is how EVs can help pull down energy bills (on average). A new study out of California shows that is indeed what has happened there.

First of all, note that EVs have contributed $1.7 billion of revenue for just three utilities in California — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and Sempra-owned San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). For these three utilities, in the past 10 years, EVs “have contributed approximately $1.7 billion more in revenues than associated costs, driving rates down for all customers.”

Why does a lot of profit from EVs charging mean costs go down for normal users? Because that’s how it works — that’s how it must work.

“The electricity industry is unlike most other industries. In most of the U.S., energy grids are operated by private businesses, not publicly owned. But they are treated as a vital public service essential to life and safety. That subjects them to strict controls that try to protect the public interest while allowing electric companies to profit,” Market Watch writes. “That includes limits on pricing and revenues. When utilities make more money, the law requires them to pass some of that profit onto their customers through rate cuts.” (Emphasis added.)

So, at these California utilities, EVs are driving up revenues, and they are even largely charging at times of low electricity demand, helping the utilities’ bottom lines. That all means savings and bigger profits for those three utilities, and it thus means savings for all utility ratepayers.

A 2021 study out of Nevada came to a similar finding. “The study found that if most drivers in that state went electric, the average electricity bill would fall by $123 per year.” $123 a year is no chump change. And that’s $1,230 over a decade. I’ll take it!

So, the next time you are in a discussion with someone who either doesn’t quite believe in EVs yet, or who thinks EVs come with a variety of risks gas-powered cars don’t come with (I won’t list the common concerns since that only feeds the fire), perhaps bring up the fact that EVs drive down electricity prices and will theoretically save them enough money to pay for their Disney+ plus Hulu bundle. In the spirit of bringing to light EV benefits that are often ignored, forgotten, or simply unknown, here are a few more:

  • Electric vehicle are more convenient than gas cars — you can wake up to a fully charged EV every morning, and that’s far nicer than going to the gas station.
  • You don’t have to battle with the always-fluctuating, volatile price of gasoline. When gas prices soar again (they will), you won’t even know it unless gas-car drivers talk to you about it (or you follow the news).
  • Electric cars are much quieter than non-electric cars and don’t emit harmful, deadly, carcinogenic, climate-destroying pollution.
  • Instant torque. Just try it. You won’t look back.

Featured image by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica.

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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